We are with you
COVID-19 has had a major impact on people with diabetes. It has changed how we access healthcare with more telehealth and less face-to-face contact; it has hanged our access to essential medicines and diabetes products, and it has changed our lifestyles and how we buy food and how we keep physically active.
We’ve been working hard with the Australian Government, with leading health professional organisations and researchers, and our member organisations and partners to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on people with diabetes and the health professional and services that support you.
We want to make sure you can still access all the diabetes and other health services you need, make sure you are in control of your diabetes and getting all the routine health checks you need, and that you can access the diabetes products and medicines you need.
Here’s some of what we’ve been up to:
- We have worked with the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) and the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) to push for new telehealth arrangements to allow people with diabetes to have medical appointments with GPs, credentialled diabetes educators (CDEs) and other members of their diabetes healthcare team via phone or video from the comfort and safety of their homes
- We have worked with pharmacists and the Pharmacy Guild to ensure people with diabetes can access all their diabetes medicines and products, to support home delivery to older people and vulnerable groups, and to prioritise access to ketone strips for people with diabetes. In response to this request many pharmacies are now keeping ketone strips behind the counter.
- We asked Woolworths to extend their priority home delivery service to people with diabetes and they have agreed. This means people with diabetes will be first in the queue to get their groceries home delivered. People can sign up for the service here. You will be asked to enter your eligible identification card number. This is your NDSS card number.
- We’ve advocated to driver’s licencing authorities in all States and Territories to suspend the need for medical reviews during COVID-19. Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia have already granted people with diabetes extensions. We are continuing to follow up with other states and territory licencing authorities and are hopeful they will soon grant similar extensions. If you receive your medical review form for your licence in the mail, you should contact the licensing authority in your state or territory to discuss or confirm that an extension has been granted.
- We collaborated with peak health groups including ADS, ADEA and the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society to make it easier for pregnant women to be screened for gestational diabetes. This will minimise the need for pregnant women to attend pathology clinics.
- We have worked with the Department of Health to make a range of changes to the NDSS to make it easier for people with diabetes to access diabetes products and services during COVID-19 including:
- Relaxed the rules on access to Blood Glucose Monitoring Strips (BGTS) for people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin – you don’t need a 6 month extension approval during COVID-19
- Home delivery of medicines and NDSS products by participating pharmacies
- Home delivery of continuous glucose monitoring starter kits
- Changes to NDSS form signing requirements to provide easier access to services and diabetes products
Extra support and information
We have extended the hours for the NDSS National Helpline (1800 637 700) to be able to give greater support to you during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new hours are:
- Monday to Friday – 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Saturday – 9:00am to 2:00pm
We have developed a range of important information resources to help you to be prepared and stay well during COVID-19. Our Be Healthy campaign is designed to give you the information and support you need to manage diabetes in this new environment. It includes tips for coping with self-isolation, as well as continuing to access routine and urgent medical care.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact people with diabetes over the months ahead but remember - you’re not alone. We’ll continue working hard for people with diabetes to ensure you have all the support you need to stay healthy.